Max Verstappen claimed his ninth Formula 1 pole position of the season, besting championship protagonist Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix.
The Red Bull pilot starts alongside Hamilton for the seventh time this year. Six points separate the two heading into tomorrow’s Grand Prix.
Until today, Mercedes had claimed pole for the annual US race every year since 2014.
However, both Verstappen and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez looked dialled in during qualifying.
Hamilton’s first Q3 lap was only strong enough for P4. He went to provisional pole on his final run, only to be beaten by Verstappen moments later.
“It was quite exciting out there,” Verstappen said.
“My first lap wasn’t amazing, and in the final lap it started spitting. So, I wasn’t sure if I was going to hang on to my lap time. But it was enough.”
Hamilton will have the inside line on the run to turn one tomorrow. The defending world champion said he had not much more left in the tank after his final run.
“I gave it everything today,” Hamilton said.
“Those guys [Red Bull] were amazing in qualifying. But I was happy with my final lap.”
Verstappen and Hamilton will start on the more durable medium tyre for the race after setting their best time in Q2 on the compound.
Perez starts behind his teammate in third, joined by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Valtteri Bottas was fourth fastest in qualifying but takes a five-place grid penalty.
That promotes Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo onto the third row.
The sister McLaren of Lando Norris is seventh, ahead of Gasly, a re-positioned Bottas and Yuki Tsunoda.
The United States Grand Prix begins at 8 am NZT tomorrow.